Big Ten Spotlight: Biggest decommitments of the 2023 cycle
Exactly 20 prospects have already decommitted from Big Ten schools this recruiting cycle and historically there will be many others prior to signing day. Today, we continue a weeklong series looking at the most impactful ones so far.
THIS SERIES: Biggest SEC decommitments of the 2023 cycle
Tomarrion Parker’s decommitment from Penn State
The Nittany Lions have suffered through more decommitments than any other program in the conference as Penn State’s coaching staff had major success, especially landing Southeast prospects, early in the recruiting cycle. But as things dragged through the summer, many decided to stay closer to home.
Yazeed Haynes’ decommitments from Rutgers and Penn State to flip to Georgia
The four-star receiver from Lansdale (Pa.) North Penn made an early commitment to Rutgers. But when many other programs started getting involved, Haynes backed off that pledge and committed to Penn State.
That decision lasted about six weeks until the four-star started getting seriously pursued by Georgia and the Nittany Lions lost one of the top in-state players to the national champs.
Haynes wasn’t the only former Penn State commit to make that switch.
Rickie Collins’ flip from Purdue to LSU
Purdue did a great job of identifying Collins early in the recruiting process, coming after him hard and landing his commitment in October of his junior year. But as time went on and LSU made a coaching change, then figured out its recruiting board, the Tigers ended up making a serious run at the four-star quarterback from Baton Rouge (La.) Woodlawn.
A flip seemed inevitable. If LSU went elsewhere, Collins could have stuck. But the Boilermakers couldn’t hold off the SEC power down the road.
Raylen Wilson’s flip from Michigan to Georgia
Michigan and Georgia were the final two for the four-star linebacker from Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln and he picked the Wolverines in December. Wilson stayed committed to Michigan through June but over the spring and then into the summer, the four-star took a couple visits to Georgia.
Assistant coach Glenn Schumann and head coach Kirby Smart never backed down in trying to flip him. They finally had success in early July when days after backing off his Michigan pledge, the four-star linebacker picked the Dawgs.
Andrew Rappleyea’s flip from Michigan to Penn State
Penn State and Michigan were the front-runners when the four-star tight end committed to the Wolverines but some coaching changes and some lack of communication to Rappleyea’s liking made the Milton (Mass.) Milton Academy standout flip his commitment in early April.
Rappleyea also really liked what the Nittany Lions have done developing tight ends in recent years and wanted to be a part of that in Happy Valley.
Marcus Stokes’ flip from Penn State to Florida
Losing a quarterback is never good for a recruiting class, especially someone like Stokes, who has dual-threat capabilities and a little of that Trace McSorley vibe and confidence. But the Nittany Lions should be just fine at the position. Former four-star Drew Allar could be the face of Penn State’s offense after Sean Clifford.
And when Stokes decommitted and flipped to Florida, the Nittany Lions went out and got three-star Jaxon Smolik to flip from Tulane. That might not look all that impressive on paper but Smolik was very good at the Elite 11 this summer and is a nice fit with Stokes going elsewhere.
Dijon Johnson’s decommitment from Ohio State
When Ohio State landed his commitment, Johnson chose the Buckeyes over Miami, Oklahoma and USC, but this summer Florida seriously entered the picture and the four-star cornerback backed off his pledge.
The Gators had Johnson on a multi-day visit this summer and Florida still looks to be in very strong shape. The Tampa (Fla.) Wharton standout, however, hasn’t made a new commitment yet. There are some Miami rumors out there as well but the Gators are in a good spot.
Ashley Williams’ flip from Nebraska to Auburn
Persistence paid off for Auburn here as the Tigers’ coaching staff never gave up on the four-star defensive end from Zachary, La., even after an early July commitment to Nebraska. That pledge lasted only weeks as Auburn convinced Williams to visit in late July and then only days later he flipped his pledge.
Throughout his recruitment, it seemed like if some SEC programs really put the hammer down then he would lean toward staying closer. Nebraska, to its credit, did receive a pledge, although it didn’t last long.
Ty Lockwood’s flip from Ohio State to Alabama
Lockwood was committed to the Buckeyes for nearly a year but after he visited Alabama everything started to shift in the Crimson Tide’s favor. Playing for coach Nick Saban was too much to turn down in the end.
From Alabama’s utilization of the tight ends to playing in the SEC and for Saban, Lockwood flipped to the Crimson Tide in early August. Ohio State remains loaded with a commitment from four-star TE Jelani Thurman and a slew of elite receivers.
Joshua Miller’s flip from Penn State to Georgia
Miller liked everything about Penn State. He loved everything about Georgia and that was one of the biggest factors as the high three-star offensive tackle decided to flip from the Nittany Lions to the Bulldogs.
The Chester (Va.) Life Christian Academy standout loved Athens, connected immediately with coach Kirby Smart, knew position coach Stacy Searels from his time at North Carolina. And playing for the national champs isn’t a bad option, either.
Miller completed his flip on June 13 and isn’t looking back.